This is an interesting take on the great books model of higher education. The model where we read in order to learn to think, to learn to create, to learn to be. I think it is an interesting model, and I find that my students are generally unread in terms of classics and well unread in almost everything else longer than 10 pages too, but such is life.
In reference to Middlebrow Messiahs by Brendan Boyle, City Journal 16 January 2009:
Technical knowledge was to be strenuously avoided: “Facts are the core of an anti-intellectual curriculum,” he observed. “Facts do not solve problems. . . . The gadgeteers and the data collectors have threatened to become the supreme chieftains of the scholarly world.” The true stewards of the university, said the career administrator, should be those who deal with the most fundamental problems: metaphysicians….
They thought they were defending civilization against all sorts of enemies: educational reformers like Dewey, who “denied that there was content to education”; a reading public raised on trash and sleaze; and, for good measure, illiberal politics.
I have always been a fan of delinking learning from the accreditation of learning, and I think that the institutionalization of learning, and lived experience, is a temporary anomaly. But I recognize the problems of dissolving the institutions at this point. Then again, having a bunch of people in positions of power arbitrarily deciding what is valid and valuable is a tyranny in and of itself. More later… and where’s ivan illich!